The Singapore I Recognise: Essays on Home, Community and Hope
By Kirsten Han
Journalist and activist Kirsten Han attempts to piece together a multitude of lesser-heard narratives about a nation full of contradictions and inconsistencies
Singapore is small, a complex country full of contradictions, inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies.
Often held up as a model nation, we sometimes forget that Singapore is seen differently by different people. With a decade of activism and journalism experience, Kirsten Han reveals various aspects of her home country that don’t follow what many of us know as the conventional ‘Singapore Story’. The Singapore I Recognise is Kirsten’s reckoning with civil society’s experiences of Singapore, perspectives that are often unheard, or fall through the cracks. Through researched interviews and heartfelt reflections, Kirsten tells us how parts of Singapore are already moving towards communal care, solidarity, empowerment and hope. This is a resonant portrayal of home in the island city-state.
About the author
Kirsten Han is an independent journalist and activist from Singapore. Since the end of 2022 she has been entrusted with the role of Managing Editor of Mekong Review, a quarterly Asia-focused literary magazine. She runs two newsletters—We, The Citizens and Altering States—in which she writes about Singapore, politics, human rights, civil society and drug policy. Her byline has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, and more. She received an Honourable Mention in 2018 for the World Justice Project’s Anthony Lewis Prize for Exceptional Rule of Law Journalism, and a Human Rights Press Award in 2019 for her commentaries on “fake news” and freedom of expression.
Kirsten is also a member of the Transformative Justice Collective, where she works towards the abolition of the death penalty and an end to Singapore’s war on drugs.
Last but not least, Kirsten is mother to three cats and anywhere between five to fifteen K-pop plushies (possibly more by the time you read this).